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My Story! Part II - Work Injury


Me working before my
work accident. 
The stuff behind me is
what fell on me!
My Story! Part II - Work Injury:

Please remember, this is a severely watered-down version of my story. I have started to post a detailed version of story on my website. I also included backup documentation as well. However, it is nowhere near finished due to publishing issues. It can be found here www.fightwcb.org/my-story.html

 

So, like all injured workers, I unfortunately suffered a workplace accident and subsequent injuries. However, lucky for me, being in Ontario, Canada, I was fortunate as my workplace accident happened before Jan. 1/98. This is when the new workers compensation law came into effect. This was the Workplace Safety & Insurance Act. Which was through the provincial legislature passing ‘Bill 99’ (UGH!).



To, put it simply, the Ontario workers compensation system went from a system of being ‘investigative’ to a system that is an ‘adversarial system on steroids’! You read it here first - don’t forget it!



What do I mean by this? Simple, before January 1, 1998, injured workers were given ‘speedy’ workers compensation benefits, which was in place of being able to sue their employers. If there were problems or concerns, the WCB would fairly and properly investigate. Injured workers were given the benefit of the doubt. Ironically, this is part of the workers compensation law! Under the post Jan. 1, 1998 system, injured workers were forced to prove beyond any doubt in the mind of the WSIB staff member, that they, the injured worker, deserved the benefits. Most injured workers would agree it went from being protected, to being treated like you were asking for welfare handouts! No disrespect to people on the welfare system, my point is that workers compensation IS DIFFERENT, as it is NOT funded by taxpayers! It, is ironic as a lot of injured workers because of these neoliberalism cuts, or as I like to say neo-Nazism cuts (I am sorry, as I don’t mean to offend victims of the Nazi era, I only wish to
empathize how much they suffered by using it as a frame of reference of suffering). I will add that ‘Lucky or fortunate’ is a weird and perverse way of saying a victim of an accident is lucky, but when the way victims of workplace accidents are treated, nowadays, becomes worse, you start to understand.



Ok, so I was injured in 1997, as I said under the old Ontario workers compensation system, or as the ‘all mighty’ at the WSIB, love to throw in my face, I am “pre-1998”. Like I got away with robbing a bank or something! After my work injury and treatment, I returned to work more times than I can count. Once or twice on my own will, but most of the times through fear of retaliation by the WSIB and my employer.



The employer and the WCB have an unfair advantage over injured workers. I say it is like holding
a gun to a person’s head and then asking that person to do something unsafe. Then being shocked, when that person raises issue over how dangerous what you are asking them to!



During my time with my employer and the WSIB, I would suffer numerous additional injuries, even during their so called “safe suitable return to work program”. What a laugh! Translation, it is a program to save WSIB(WCBs) and employers money that is it! It is a program, in my opinion that is a complete and utter violation of every Human Rights code, as well as the Charter of Rights & Freedoms in Canada!



The best part was when I returned to work and after suffering additional injuries, the WSIB said I was faking and it was all in my head. They even had a ‘so-called doctor’ to make this claim. He said get this… after me suffering from the injuries for more than a year and a half after my accident, that I “would be fully recovered in six to eight weeks” and with no formal treatment or medication. This so-called doctor’s report, even now reminds of those people in the southern states. ‘Faith healers’, who would slap people in the forehead and say, “you are healed, by the grace of god!” That is what
I felt like what happened and still do, every time I read this doctor’s report! I did a little research on this doctor. Surprisingly, I found he was an avid supporter of the WSIB/WCBs and their ways. He would be part of medical research, which would increase the mobility of an injured worker. This was at no matter the cost and suffering to the injured worker. So, if there was great risk, of life or more severe permanent pain, the medical procedure or treatment would be forced on the injured worker. This was just to increase the injured worker’s mobility, even a little. This goal, which was to save the WSIB/WCBs money in permanent injury cost awards.



I question the ethical and moral actions of these so-called doctors and scientists. I also raise a greater concern, that if the WSIB/WCBs, who are a body representing government, forces a person to undergo a medical treatment/procedure, that may not be in their best interests, is this not a violation of the Declaration of Human Rights enacted by the United Nations – Only time will tell….



Sorry I had another ADD moment again! I did recently file a complaint against this doctor, with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. I filed the complaint not for financial reward, but for justice for myself and for other injured workers. To also attempt to bring back credibility to the medical profession. A profession, which has been severely damaged in the eyes of injured workers. Surprisingly, the complaint against the doctor, is going forward!



This will be the topic of another blog, which will be how to deal with WSIB/WCB doctors during and after examinations, as well as the use of what the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups - ONIWG calls ‘papers doctors’ in their campaign #WorkersCompIsARight. I will show you how to fight these doctors using the College of Physicians and Surgeons complaint process!



My Established Permanent Injury:

So, after many failed return to works, and several work accidents and injuries, the WSIB, after more than three years after my work accident, finally agreed I suffered a permanent injury, but only to my lower back. I explain this in a minute…

So, just a year prior to this, I love this part, I found in a WSIB/WCB board memo that was written by a WSIB/WCB doctor, which he states MMR reach, but no PI.



Not So Interesting side note:

Board memos are what is placed in your WSIB/WCB claim file. This is what they say or write about you, after they talk to you. Therefore, you have an extremely difficult time fighting them with appeal decisions. The Appeals officer and the Tribunal panel all have access to these memos, unfortunately you don’t get access to them, until it is usually much too late to correct any inconsistencies. I mean you have a right to access them, but who would access their file every time they communicated with the WCB. To ensure to ensure the WSIB/WCB documented the right thing. Therefore, I tell injured workers after a phone call, or verbal communication always follow it up with a letter, which will trump these memos! Or better yet only communicate by e-mail (yes other WCBs allow use of e-mail by injured workers, but not Ontario) So, we in Ontario are left to using snail mail - a letter. I complained to the WSIB, stating it costs me a dollar every time I send a letter now, to communicate with them. Why should I or any injured worker has to pay this, or pay for a fax line or service every time I wish to communicate with them?



Sorry, I got side tracked yet again, or side noted 😊! So, this WSIB/WCB doctor (yes, a paper doctor) said in this memo, regarding my injury that “MMR reached, No PI”. It was WSIB/WCB memo #50, which I can remember like yesterday. Ok, are you a little confused? No problem, let me explain and translate the WSIB/WCBs short-forms they use, because they write like they are somewhat lazy, or two-year olds!



First, the doctor said maximum medical recovery reached, no permanent impairment. Now for those who do not know the WSIB/WCBs determines when a person suffers a permanent impairment – PI. This is when the injured worker’s injury is not going to get any better. This is referred to as Maximum Medical Recovery. The alternative, in case you were wondering, is a full recovery. This is not what is stated here. Ironically, in the WSIB/WCB law it defines a “…permanent impairment as when MMR is reached. To further add to this part of the story. MMR is reached according to WSIB/WCB law/policy, when the usual healing times has been exceeded. In the case of my injury – a soft tissue injury they said, it was three months. This memo was written almost three years after the injury. So, one wonders what is really going on at the WSIB/WCB?

Secondly, this doctor never examined me, which is a great concern for most patients of doctors. This concern is where doctors who make comments without seeing their patients first. My point here, is that this is but one example of many of the WSIB/WCB & the WSIAT/WCT’s intentional deceptive behaviors in my file and likely in many others.

Another issue was that after the WSIB/WCB accepted my entire injury for more than three years, they just suddenly changed my injury from my ‘entire back, neck, and head’ to just my lower back. This too was in contravention of the WSIB/WCB law.



Interesting Side Note:

In making the determination that I did suffer a permanent injury, after more than three years after my accident, the WSIB says hey you not going to be able to drive a truck anymore, with a bad back.  

What is interesting about this is that I have talked to numerous injured workers including Dave Curtis who have sworn to me, and I believe them. They stated that the WSIB/WCB trained them to be truck drivers. The WSIB/WCB informed them that the job was suitable for a person with a bad back! Of course, I laughed when I heard that – yes, I do a lot of laughing, but I think you are starting to understand why. The WSIB/WCB do whatever they want with no accountability!         



Can’t/Can Take Transit Bus:

In the Spring of 2000, the WSIB/WCB decision maker stated in a memo that a previous return to work program my employer offered, and I did, was unsuitable for me. He explained this was due to the hour and half public transit bus ride, which I had to take to work. He stated this was due to my permanent physical limitations.

Ironically, this decision maker’s attitude would not only change but turn on me – in the worst way!

Then in the fall of 2000, when I had been attending the WSIB/WCB sponsored retraining program. The WSIB/WCB call it an LMR, not sure what they call it now. They keep changing names of stuff!

Well, my car broke down. I contacted the WSIB/WCB as I was unsure, if I would be able to afford a replacement car. You see my personal credit was destroyed with amount and length of the WSIB delays, I am sure you know exactly what I mean! So, I contacted the WSIB decision maker and was just advising him. This was so he was aware that I may have a problem as I may have to take the bus and it may be a problem for me. You see, I had checked what buses I would need to take to this program, and unlike during the employer modified work program, where it was just two buses, at an hour and a half. To travel to this WSIB/WCB program, I learned would be three buses and over an hour and forty-five minutes. When I informed the WSIB/WCB decision maker, he advised me to get a letter from my family doctor. However, before I got the letter from my family doctor, he had written me. In his letter, he stated, and I quote I “Suffer from self-perceived limitations”. This was not only, personally offensive, but it was without question slanderous and libel. My employer did on several occasions use this statement against me in the appeals process and gained from it, as a result. The best part of the whole situation, was that I was only advising him. I never stated to him I was taking the long bus ride, only, that I was concerned as I may have to. In fact, I was able to get a replacement car and it was not an issue, but the damage to my character was clearly done!       



My next Blog will be about my retraining program, my return to work, which was unsuitable due to my preexisting non-work-related disability and the events leading up to the WSIB and WSIAT appeals…….


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